2 thoughts on “Carol Service 2013”

  1. You seem to use the titles ‘Brother’ and ‘Sister’ between members – rather like members of a Roman Catholic order – the Congregation of Christian Brothers.
    No such titles exist in the New Testament, even for the apostles.
    Jesus has titles – for example, ‘Lord’ Jesus Christ, but I would not want others putting me in such an elevated position by using the title ‘Brother’. It would be embarrassing.
    The New Testament encourages us to be humble, not to elevate one person above another.
    In the spirit of Peter: ‘Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”‘ Acts 10:26
    It is presumptuous therefore to assume that one person in a congregation is a Brother or a Sister and another just an ‘interested friend’.
    Why not simply call everyone by their first names? Ultimately only God knows how we stand before him.
    Being brotherly and sisterly and regarding each other as brothers and sisters is different and wholly scriptural, but using the title Brother with a capital ‘B’ and Sister with a capital ‘S’ is not scriptural and should be discouraged.
    Your comments would be most welcome.

    1. Dear Darren,

      Thanks for your comment. The use of “Brother” or “Sister” as a title in Christadelphian circles dates back to an earlier, more formal age and is gradually declining. Most of the time we do just use our first names. When the custom was more widespread, it was applied to all baptised members of the church, and was not used as a means of distinguishing between people in any hierarchical sense. Christadelphians are the least hierarchical of even the other Congregational sects, and the use of “Brother” or “Sister” has never had this implication. You are right in noting that the title is used to distinguish between baptised and unbaptised members of the church, but when New Testament usage is examined, it is pretty clear that it was only the baptised believers who were referred to as “brothers and sisters”, thus making it clear that there was a distinction to be made. Whether that distinction should be reinforced by the use of “Brother” and “Sister” as a title is a moot point, but, in passing, you are not quite right in your suggestion that such titles are never used in the NT. At the time of Paul’s conversion, Ananias referred to him as “Brother Saul”, immediately before his baptism in Acts 9:17, and Paul reiterates this story in Acts 22:12, again using the title.
      I can’t, in truth, say that I see this as being an issue of great importance, but I hope this response is helpful to you.

      On behalf of Ealing Christadelphians,

      Andrew

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